Voya’s Investment Management business sends a wide variety of emails to current and potential distribution partners (consultants, advisors, fund analysts, etc.). These emails contain market commentary, product information, webinar invitations and many other topics intended to build engagement and add value.
Students were challenged to identify and quantify attributes that lead to engaging email communications from Voya.
Some potential insights:
- What characteristics drive the success of individual emails?
- What sequences of emails affect engagement?
- When should emails be sent to drive the greatest engagement?
Student response to this first-time UConn-Voya partnership event was outstanding.
“It was a lot of fun working with the students and seeing what they came up with. They had a fresh perspective on real challenges we’re working on today. It was very satisfying to be able to talk through their thought process and engage with such a talented and motivated group.”
-Duncan Sanford, Analytics Director, Analytics Center of Excellence
“This analytics challenge was a great example of how we’re building partnerships with leading universities to create a pipeline of ideas and talent. Through internships and analytics projects like this one, we’re creating a buzz about Voya on campuses that’s helping to generate new insights as well as to compete for talent.”
-Tom Hamilton, VP, Analytics Center of Excellence
Capital Community College
Capital Community College worked with a team of UConn graduate students to help boost its fall-to-fall retention rate, which currently hovers around 45 percent. The UConn students’ findings were based on five years of data supplied by CCC, and all student identification remained confidential. The results of this predictive analytics project outlined the characteristics of CCC students who are most likely to succeed, and those who are at greater risk of dropping out.
“We hear a lot of stories from individual students, but until now we did not have the aggregate findings from the data analytics. The value of this kind of research is immeasurable. We are grateful to UConn, our colleagues down the street...we are all stakeholders in the success of our community.” G. Duncan Harris, Interim CEO at Capital Community College
The UConn students, in their consulting role, offered a number of suggestions to CCC administrators, such as augmenting the offering of financial advising to students who aren’t eligible for aid, considering more flexible class times for those who are working, studying which advisers work best with specific student populations, and adding additional support for students in the higher-risk categories.
Administrators from both colleges are considering extending the partnership. UConn students would like to gather more data, such as how many hours the average student is working, whether marital status impacts retention, how dependents influence completion of college, and the most common reasons students leave CCC.
“This partnership is phenomenal,” said Miah LaPierre-Dreger, CCC’s Interim Dean of Academic Affairs. “A lot of community colleges across the country would love to have this kind of data about their programs.”
“You’ve affirmed that we’re on the right track with the recent student-success strategies we’ve deployed and provided a data-informed platform for the launching of others,” Harris said. “The spirit of collegiality and support for our shared community exhibited in this project was phenomenal.”
Aureus Analytics was born to fulfill the need to do more with your data but with lesser tools. What started as a need to have access to real time insights at the point of decision, has now blossomed into a smorgasbord of highly energetic and restless individuals creating a great product to revolutionize customer experience in Insurance Industry.
After meeting with CABA and learning about the program structure and how CABA engages with industry for the benefit of the students as well as the industry, we were impressed. The endeavor to keep the engagements symbiotic was very visible and absolutely novel. In our CABA Data Challenge, our approach was to engage the students by introducing them to something new and exciting. We built the challenge around a customer experience paradigm and demonstrated our concepts and technology to them in an extensive two phase process. In phase I, the students were exposed to our application and its use via a simulated demo, and a simple quiz was then used to assess and select the suitable candidates for phase II. Phase II was more extensive. Direct access to our technologies and sample data was provided to them to evaluate the customer events and experience paradigm.
The commitment and feedback from the students was phenomenal and encouraging. They understood and critiqued the approach in a very constructive way. They also took the initiative and analyzed the data from a customer perspective. We are looking forward to selecting a few students for an internship to carry forward the engagement that was established with this Data Challenge. We sincerely thank the CABA team of Anna Radziwillowicz, Jennifer Eigo & John Wilson for all their help and support. We look forward to more similar engagements, projects and Data Challenges.
-Nitin Purohit, Co-founder & CTO
LIMRA asked the students to build a model to predict variable annuity cancellations, based on a large data set with dozens of variables. In parallel with our internal efforts, the students adeptly explored the data, built models, developed theories, and presented their recommendations. We used their results to confirm our findings, and their fresh perspective even gave us some new ideas. We are planning to publish our findings this year, in no small part due to the students’ contributions.
Buyer / Non-Buyer Project
LIMRA asked the students to build a model to predict who was likely to buy individual life insurance, based on a consumer survey. Despite having a limited amount of data, the students were able to identify several personal characteristics and life events that make someone more likely to buy. Their work has helped us develop profiles of types of customers who are most likely to buy, which we are planning to publish this year.
Stanley Black & Decker
The UConn Business School and CABA have been great partners for STANLEY Healthcare. We knew that we had some data issues within our business and our company had just started a partnership with UConn to utilize students within the program. As we embarked down the road of this initial project, we really did not know what to expect. It was eye-opening to see the effort and quality of work that was put forth by the students in the program.
Our problem statement read, “Due to a history of acquisitions, STANLEY Healthcare's Selling, General & Administrative (SG&A) expense detail is split across four ERP systems (2 Instances Of Great Plains, SAP and Priority). As the business targets to reduce and/or reallocate SG&A investments to new initiatives, we need a "visualization tool" that will allow us to consolidate the SG&A expenses from four systems. Ideally, this tool will provide a sustainable and repeatable process to filter and drill into the SG&A expense detail to understand savings opportunities.”
Students were provided with the data set with a few parameters, and they took off running. One of the things that we found interesting was that each group had their own approach. It was interesting to see that through all these different approaches, the end result and the conclusions that could be made from the different tools were so similar. Data Analytics is something that is new to me, and my company. CABA has not only shown us what the possibilities and potential is for Data Analytics, they also delivered a tool that we are in the process of productionizing. It has been a win/win for both STANLEY Healthcare and the students of CABA who get to apply their schooling in real world scenarios.
I hope that we can find ways to partner with them again soon!
Pentation Analytics is a Big Data Analytics company that enables insurers and intermediaries to better engage with policy holders. We provide predictive intelligence and process automation tools that address the core insurance use-cases of increasing retention, cross-sales and optimizing claims. We are based out of Hartford, Connecticut and we are highly engaged with UConn's Center for the Advancement of Business Analytics (CABA).
Pentation Analytics and CABA organised a hackathon focused on customer retention. Customer retention is a global business problem area in which much work is being done, but it is still not enough. The problem statement read “Insurance customer retention insights through dashboards”. Students were given P&C Insurance carrier data, both structured and unstructured. Student turnout was overwhelming and it was very interesting how the teams approached the problem. In addition, seeing data from their eyes was an amazing and enriching experience. In terms of the student experience, we hope inputs provided by our team during presentations will help these talented students to bridge the academic-Industry gap.
The hackathon was very successful and we look forward to many more fruitful endeavors between Pentation and CABA.
-Prahant Roy, Pentation Analytics
Life.io is a leading customer engagement and data analytics solution bridging the gap between life carriers and their policyholders. By helping people achieve their goals, Life.io enables carriers to become human again, achieving their promise to help people live healthier, happier lives, while providing them with security and trust. Built on a foundation of science, Life.io uses behavioral economics, social psychology, and personalized content to nurture a community of highly engaged consumers. By utilizing Life.io, carriers capture these insights and use them to build brand loyalty, accelerate growth, minimize policy risk, and streamline the underwriting process.
Co-Founder and CEO
Seeking insights into the home improvement market, Basement Systems Inc. (www.basementsystems.com) partnered with the UConn Business Analytics and Project Management program on several inter-related projects over the course of two years. A division of Contractor Nation, Basement Systems is headquartered in Seymour, Connecticut and comprises a nationwide network of home improvement contractors offering basement waterproofing, foundation repair, insulation, mold prevention, and radon mitigation.
Graduate students in the program analyzed externalities that might affect demand for home improvement services, looking at the effect of weather, energy costs, the real estate market, and other geographic, economic, and demographic data. Other analyses looked at the cost effectiveness of different marketing channels and other factors affecting a company’s growth, including social media presence, competition, and reviews.
In addition to data analyses, the students used text mining tools to explore customer sentiment as expressed in online reviews. “These insights into our customers are an important factor in understanding market dynamics,” explained Jenny Hui Liu, a graduate of the program and Data Analyst at Basement Systems who worked with the students on the project’s parameters.
Richard Fencil, head of the Treehouse Internet Group, (www.treehouseinternetgroup.com) the company’s in-house marketing agency, said the results of the projects were being used in a number of ways. “The insights were immediately helpful in mapping the customer journey, expanding weather-related advertising, and our ability to provide support to our contractor network through our year-round training programs. The more we understand the interplay between reviews, referrals and online research, the clearer it is that a contractor has to deliver exceptional service to grow its business.”
Priceline partnered with UConn to sponsor a capstone project for second year students in the MSBAPM program. Students directly applied their academic knowledge to identify how Priceline can better target the more than 2 billion promotional emails sent every year. After analyzing a sample of anonymized search and booking data, students presented final recommendations to Priceline's product analytics and marketing teams.
Clorox disinfecting wipes are the star products of Clorox, having a lion’s share of sales amongst its competitors. The company has been traditionally using just the past sales data for forecasting its immediate future demand. The major problem with these kinds of models are they do not take into account some of the very influential factors which strongly effects the sales, creating unknown pulse periods. This causes the inventory to either come short of the market demand , resulting in losing the existing customers to competitors or exceeding the market demand, which may result in over stocking the inventory. Both of which leads to loss.
By using sophisticated models which could correctly predict the sales due to influential factors, Clorox could clearly handle their inventory better and reach the market in a timely manner. Identifying the pulse periods will give the company a competitive edge in creating new marketing strategies to increase market demand. In addition, rolling out inventory at the opportune time assists in customer retention and increases overall sales.
- Analyze the factors affecting the sales of disinfecting wipes
- Determine the drivers behind pulse periods
- Build model based on previous sales data
- Predict the unit sales for the year 2016